Department of Philosophy
801 McClung Tower
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-0480
My Ph.D. is from the University of Oklahoma. I also have an M.Litt. from the University of Glasgow (UK). I joined the Department as a Lecturer in the fall of 2012.
I work primarily in ethics and political philosophy, with special attention to issues of a global dimension. My main research addresses central concerns of ethical and political theory applied to climate change, working from a framework that understands climate change as a violation of human rights and its application to the moral obligations borne by both individuals and collective groups. My interest in human rights and obligations is not solely limited to environmental matters, but also poverty and economic concerns, all of which relate to broader questions about consumption, sustainability, and the ethics of intervention. Thus, I have been expanding my work to begin thinking about the implications global problems like climate change have for international relations and state sovereignty. Here, I am particularly interested in pursuing the idea of what I call "environmental legitimacy" and the role such concept might play in justifying both domestic regulations and international interventions.
I have also done work in Asian philosophy. In particular, I am interested in how some of the accounts of political theory offered in classical works have relevance or insight for issues of contemporary political philosophy.
Recent, representative publications
- "Governing Through the Dao: A Non-Anarchistic Interpretation of the Laozi," Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9, no. 3 (2010): 323-337.
Recent Representative Presentations
- Thinking About Vulnerability: Climate Change, Human Rights, and Moral Thresholds" Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, 29 September 2015
- "Limiting Sovereignty: Climate Change, Individual Rights, and State Legitimacy" Western Political Science Association (WPSA) Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, 2 April 2015
- "Climate Norms, the Problem of Non-Compliant States, and Limiting Sovereignty" International Social Theory Consortium (ISTC) Annual Conference, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 16 May 2014
- "The Role of Moral Reasoning in Seeking Action on Climate Change" Society for Environmental Journalists Annual Conference, Chattanooga, TN, 5 October 2013
- "Addressing Climate Change as a Matter of Humanitarian Intervention?" Western Political Science Association (WPSA) Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, 29 March 2013
- "Collective and Individual Responsibility in the Case of Climate Change" Western Political Science Association (WPSA) Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, 22 March 2012
- "Climate Change, Human Rights, and Capabilities" Western Political Science Association (WPSA) Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 23 April 2011
- "Obligations of the Affluent: A Two-Threshold Framework" North Texas Philosophical Association Annual Meeting, University of North Texas, 7 April 2011